When you’re not playing Angry Birds or Draw Something, your smartphone can actually be used to your advantage. Most of us take our phones for granted but there was a day when you had to print out directions from Mapquest or even look them up in a book. Now, all I have to do is enter the address or business name into my phone and it can instantaneously provide me three different routes. My iPhone 4 has definitely changed the way I spend and save money, so I’ve compiled a list of apps that can help you save money and achieve your financial goals.
Some of the apps, like Mint and Yelp I use all the time, but others I use infrequently, but just enough to keep around. Apps that save you money are definitely important, but I also want to highlight some apps that will save you time. I use these apps on the iPhone but almost all of them should be available on multiple platforms.
1. Square - You probably haven’t heard of this one, but it’s becoming really popular. Do you have a friend who owes you money but always claims “they have no cash?” Well the square card reader turns your device into a credit card machine. It charges just 2.75% of every swipe and allows you to accept credit cards for any transaction. Whether you need to collect on $20 bucks from a friend or you’re holding a garage sale, the square reader can quickly complete any transaction. Best of all, the card reader and the app are both free.
2. Skype - I don’t have a landline so Skype is really the only way I can even make an international call. As long as you’re connected to wifi, you can make international calls at very low rates. You can also use it to make free video and voice calls to other Skype users, whether they’re on a phone or PC. And even though I don’t get cell phone service out of the country, I always take my iPhone so that I can use Skype over wifi.
3. GasBuddy - I just paid $4.50 the other day for gas! With gas prices on the rise, this app has become a lot more important to me. GasBuddy taps into a community of users who constantly update prices for other users. The app allows you to quickly find the cheapest gas by your GPS location.
4. Mint - I’ve reviewed Mint before and it’s still one of my favorite websites. But I rarely access the actual site anymore, instead I primarily use their iPhone app. I have all my bank accounts, retirement accounts and credit cards linked so I can quickly get a daily status update of all my financial transactions. The Mint app also lets me check my monthly budget and lets me enter in cash transactions using GPS. This app is must-have for me and is part of my free identity theft protection plan.
5. Your Bank’s Mobile App – Almost every big brick and mortar bank has their own app these days but many of them now allow you to deposit checks by snapping a photo with your smart phone. My online bank, Ally, still doesn’t have this feature yet! So for now, I still have to deposit my checks at my local bank like a sucker. But Chase and US Bank customers, to name a couple, already have access to mobile deposit services.
6. Amazon - I love to comparison shop with Amazon and their free 2 day shipping with a prime membership makes it that much better. The app allows you to compare prices and check availability instantly by scanning a bar code or snapping a quick picture. I buy almost all of my household supplies like toilet paper, paper towels, etc on Amazon because there is no tax, free shipping and they have some of the lowest prices around. There’s nothing like coming home to a giant box of toilet paper at your doorstep at the end of the day
7. Yelp – Everyone knows about yelp and the reviews they provide have helped me find many new awesome restaurants and businesses. But I especially like their app when I’m on the run. It allows me to quickly find nearby restaurants and businesses. You can even narrow it down by neighborhood, price and rating. Whenever I try a new restaurant, I like to read a couple reviews to see what I should or shouldn’t get.
8. Happy Hours – I don’t use this app often, but it can be very handy once in a while. Similar to Yelp, it will use your location to find the closest happy hours and show all the food and drink specials going on at that time. Most major US cities are available and they’re adding more every week.
9. Ebay – I bought a small postage scale on eBay a few months ago and have been selling ever since. The app makes it really convenient to snap a couple pictures of the item, add a description and list it. I also sell a lot of my smaller value gift cards on eBay.
10. Groupon/LivingSocial – Both companies allow you to pull up purchased deals on your phone so these apps can be really handy if you forgot to print out the deal you bought. I don’t use the apps for much else, but they do save some paper!
Did I leave anything out? What apps do you use that help you save time and/or money?
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